Project Management in Practice

Beyond the alphabet soup of PRINCE2, MSP, MoP, PMBOK, ITIL, Agile

Can a Project Manager afford to go on vacation?

A True vacation spirit

Image by Kenzoka via Flickr

I recently went on a vacation after many months. I had almost forgotten what it had felt like to have some time off. As I returned I felt re-energised and about to recommend the same to others. Basking in that glory lasted until I sat in the first resource allocation meeting and I discovered to my horror that all the resources for my projects had been gobbled up and I was consoled … “you weren’t here, so we …”. Whatever the rest of the sentence was, didn’t make any difference to my situation.

I had made task allocations before I left and was expecting some clarifications from my clients on matters so I could make allocations on my return. Now I’m faced with a situation where I cannot assign what I had planned when I left for my vacation. I’m not one to let things rest as they are. I’m about to go negotiate with some of the other project managers regarding relative priority of tasks and make sure I get some compromise along the line, so none of the projects are compromised.

How on earth could this happen? In a services environment, it is not an uncommon scenario. It reminded me of something that I had taken for granted in my daily role – to be an champion for my projects within the enterprise, to prepare for possible resource contentions, following up on allocations and monitoring progress. For a while I was thinking if it was indeed wise to go for a vacation. Everything was going well before.

I had to pull myself back into reality. I had been feeling mentally exhausted and it would have led to something suffering – my health, family or projects. Working madder cannot be the solution. As I think about what could have been done to ensure I didn’t get the shock, I am convinced that each project needs a champion at all times to make sure its demands are appropriately represented within the enterprise. I can think of one particular person who may be having a heart attack as he reads this post. I can assure you that the resources are now in place :o)

Morale of the story … If you dare to go on leave, do leave a champion behind.

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